OLYMPIA, Wash. - Supporters of a measure that would lower the bar for prosecuting police who use deadly force turned in signatures to the secretary of state's office in their effort to qualify the initiative to the Legislature.
The campaign for Initiative 940 says it turned in 360,000 signatures Thursday.
Current law states an officer can't be charged if he or she acted in good faith and without malice, or "evil intent," when using deadly force. I-940 would change the law to consider what a "reasonable officer" might have done under the circumstances, and would also take into account an officer's intentions to determine if she or he acted in good faith.
Law enforcement officers would also be required to have extra training for de-escalation, mental health, and first aid.
“It's time. I think people are tired,” said Katrina Johnson, whose cousin, Charleena Lyles, was shot and killed by Seattle police in June after officers said she threatened them with a knife.
Johnson said her cousin suffered from mental health problems and thinks the training called for in the initiative would have prevented her from being killed.
“They would have thought twice about pulling the trigger; they would have took a little more time to get her the help she needed,” said Johnson.
If state lawmakers don't approve the measure during the upcoming legislative session, it will go before voters in November. If lawmakers approve an amended version of the initiative, both proposals would go to the ballot.